Today CFA acknowledges and celebrates Earth Day 2020. Energy use and cost is important to all of us at CFA – to reduce our carbon footprint, ensure reliable supply and reduce bills.
Under the Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Act 2017, the Victorian Government is committed to increasing the proportion of renewable energy generated in Victoria to 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025.
The Final Report of the Interim Targets Independent Expert Panel was tabled in Parliament on 6 June 2019 to provide advice to government about the interim targets for 2025 and 2030. It noted that emissions are projected to be reduced by 18 per cent from 2016 to 2020, with targets of 32-39 per cent reductions by 2025, and 45-60 reductions by 2030.
CFA is developing a renewable energy program to reduce overall energy demand through energy efficiency measures, replacing energy supply with renewable energy sources, and progressively transitioning to renewable energy in accordance with Victorian Government policy targets.
CFA has already taken steps to reduce its carbon footprint with:
- Hybrid and electric cars
- Solar energy
Every kWh of energy CFA generates through renewable sources has a triple benefit:
- Reduced GHG emissions for the community – delivering on agency, sector and state climate change emission reduction commitments
- Reduced annual operating costs, meaning savings can be invested in any innovative projects
- Reduced reputational risk for CFA, and enhanced reputation as an innovator and environmentally / socially responsible leader in local communities
Some CFA locations and brigades have installed solar electricity generating systems in the past six years resulting in significant reduction in energy demand and cost.
Brigades using solar-generated power include:
Anglesea, CFA HQ, Aireys Inlet, Barwon Heads, Bellbrae, Deans Marsh, Freshwater, Labertouche, Torquay, Winchelsea, Wurdale, Boronia, Learmonth, Cardigan, Miners Rest, Creswick, Bacchus Marsh, Yackandandah and Indigo Valley.
Many others are planning new solar systems.
Community Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants 2020
The Australian Government is currently running a National Grant Scheme for community organisations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and power bills. Eligible applicants include country fire authorities and rural fire services.
The Energy Efficient Communities Program – Community Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants 2020 provides community groups with grants up to $12,500 for energy efficient equipment, energy generation and storage systems, and energy audits.
Grants can be used for:
- design, supply and installation of new solar photovoltaic generator systems
- purchase and installation of new battery systems and battery storage systems
- purchase and installation of new solar hot water heaters or air source hot water heat pumps, to replace existing equipment
- purchase and installation of light emitting diode (LED) lighting equipment or energy efficient lighting controls to replace existing equipment
- design, supply and installation of high efficiency split system air conditioning units to replace existing equipment
- energy audits